No regrets: why skipping university may give grounds for optimism

No regrets: why skipping university may give grounds for optimism

University has long been thought of as one of the best ways to learn the skills we need to get a good start in our careers.

But with more and more young people giving university a wide berth on account of escalating tuition fees and crippling debts, we’ve been refreshed and encouraged by the optimism of recent school leavers compared with the latest batch of fresh graduates.

Our latest study polled the views of nearly 1,500 workers from around the country and revealed that today’s young jobseekers (18-24) who’ve chosen not to go to university are, in fact, 17% more optimistic about their current job prospects than the graduate class of 2011.

What’s more, in spite of the rich social and cultural scene that comes with a degree (not to mention the education), more than 59% of non-university educated respondents told us they had no regrets about not attending university. Get straight in to work after school, they said, and you make the most of every opportunity available.

Moreover, one-in-five school leavers believes they’ve learned more at work than any degree could teach them, with the remaining 12% just happy to have started earning money at an early age.

But what about those gloomy graduates? Are any of them feeling upbeat about their prospects?

Thankfully, the answer is yes. And it seems the key to an optimistic outlook is studying for a so-called ‘vocational’ qualification. The more focused your degree on equipping you for a job, the more positive you feel: graduates who studied Accountancy, Computer Science and Linguistics are most likely to have an upbeat view of the current employment market.

In today’s climate, real-world experience is king, whether it’s gained by getting straight in to work or pursuing a vocational qualification, ideally with a industrial placement or equivalent. Those of us who can remain flexible, express our enthusiasm and learn practical skills along the way will be the ones most likely to ride the wave of economic recovery.